Providing Support During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Results – Short Version

Direct Support Workforce Pay and Hours

Wages and extra pay

74 percent of respondents are primary wage earners in their household and receive an average wage is $13.63. This wage is higher than the national average because most respondents have worked in their positions for over three years. 24 percent of respondents are receiving extra pay due to COVID 19 risks. Of those receiving extra hourly pay, 21 percent received more than three dollars, 15 percent received between two and three dollars,  45 percent received one to two dollars, and 19 percent received one dollar or less.

Respondents experienced significant schedule changes

34 percent worker more hours, 18 percent worked fewer hours, 30 percent worked different shifts, 29 percent worked in different settings, and 26 percent reported they were more short staffed than before the pandemic.

Additional hours worked per week

29 percent worker one to fifteen extra hours, 10 percent worker between 16 and 30 hours, and 15 percent worked 31 or more additional hours.

Safety Measures

DSP access to personal protective equipment (PPE)

84 percent of respondents had gloves, 53 had homemade masks, 46 had medical-grade masks, and 10 percent had home repair style masks.

Safety measures put in place by employers

72 percent of employers posted signs on proper handwashing, 66 percent took employee temperatures, 66 percent provided health and safety training, 58 percent posted signs on social distancing, and 10 percent provided COVID-19 testing.

Effects on people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Pandemic effects on people with IDD supported

42 percent knew someone in the DSP workforce who left their job due to the pandemic. Of those, 34 percent feared infection, 25 percent had childcare issues, 13 percent feared infecting others, and 9 percent left after testing positive for COVID-19. Other reasons for leaving included caring for family members or laid off when a program closed, having hours cut, mental strain, or receiving more income from unemployment as compared to working.

Social distancing practices of people supported

The social distancing practices of people supported were reported as 60 percent good or very good, 24 percent fair, and 16 percent poor.

Allowed to see their family or friends in person

10 percent of people supported were allowed to see family or friends in person. 16 percent were seldom allowed to and 64 percent were never allowed to.

Consequences of isolation on people supported

The isolation of people supported resulted in 80 percent experiencing boredom, 57 percent experiencing mood swings or depression, 52 percent having increased behavior issues, 48 percent experiencing loneliness, and 47 percent sleeping more than usual. Other observed consequences included confusion over why people cannot visit, anxiety over not seeing people or going out into the community, not being able to visit medical specialists, and decreased exercise.